Stay-at-home defenseman Jeff Finley certainly knows how to score the big goals.
Finley got the game-winner in Game 6 of the St. Louis Blues' first-round playoff series against Phoenix last May and last night he scored another rare goal at 19 seconds of overtime for a 3-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oilers.
Finley's first goal of the season matched his total from last season, when he totaled one goal in 32 games for the Blues and New York Rangers. He has nine goals in 375 career games.
"I don't score very often, but they're always fun--especially the game-winners," Finley said. "I just saw a chance to jump in the play."
The new 4-on-4 overtime format gives players like Finley a chance to be the hero because teams already are guaranteed one point.
"You can go for it," Finley said. "You've got to go for it."
Finley scored from the right side of the net, catching Oilers goalie Tommy Salo off-guard, on a cross-ice pass from Pierre Turgeon. Pavol Demitra also assisted on the play.
"It was a bang-bang play," Salo said. "I was moving and I don't know if I touched it or not. It just happened so quick."
The Oilers got caught in a bit of a breakdown on the play.
"They choreographed it perfectly," Oilers Coach Kevin Lowe said. "Everybody was in-between on that play. I'm not going to point the finger at anybody, but there's four guys out there and they have to be responsible for their man."
Craig Conroy and Michal Handzus also scored for the Blues, who have won the first three games of a four-game homestand. The Blues are 5-0 against Canadian teams and 0-3 against United States teams.
The Oilers have played four overtime games and have two losses and two ties.
Salo, playing in goal for the second straight night, had a strong game with 34 saves. He had 22 stops Wednesday in a 2-1 loss at Dallas.
Doug Weight and Janne Niinimaa gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Handzus had tied it at 1 minute 31 seconds of the second period when he knocked in the rebound of his own shot over a prone Salo. Handzus had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 victory at Edmonton on Oct. 9 and has five goals already after totaling four in 66 games his rookie season.
The Blues had a 16-9 advantage in shots in the first period, but trailed 2-1. Weight scored on a 2-on-1 at 8:43 and Niinimaa got his first of the season shorthanded at 15:04 as the Blues' power play was outshot 3-1.
Conroy cut the St. Louis deficit to one with a backhander, his second overall and second in two games, at 16:55.
* SENATORS 4, AVALANCHE 1: Rob Zamuner and Magnus Arvedson each had a goal and an assist to lead host Ottawa.
Wade Redden and Andreas Dackell also scored for the Senators, who halted a two-game losing streak by outshooting the Avalanche, 41-20.
Ottawa goalie Ron Tugnutt stopped 19 shots. Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy remained 13 wins behind third-place Jacques Plante (434) on the all-time list.
Rookie Alex Tanguay scored for the Avalanche, who had both a three-game winning streak and four-game unbeaten string come to an end.
* MIGHTY DUCKS 5, BLACKHAWKS 5: Teemu Selanne scored from the left circle with 1:13 left in the third period to lift visiting Anaheim to a tie with winless Chicago.
Chicago's Doug Gilmour had scored his second goal of the game with 2:40 left in the third period to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 lead. But Chicago (0-3-4-0) couldn't hold on and remained one of three NHL teams without a victory.
In each of their four ties this season, the Blackhawks had third-period leads.
Gilmour's goals were his first two this season and first since since Feb. 24. Eric Daze, Tony Amonte and Dean McAmmond also scored for the Blackhawks.
Ted Drury, Paul Kariya, Antti Aalto and Marty McInnis had goals for Anaheim (4-4-1-0).